Saturday 1 May 1915 – We Lost 626
History records the first repulse of a gas attack. The men who defeat it are the men of the British 15th Brigade (5th Division) by sheer courage and determination. If any single unit can be singled out, it is the 1st Dorsetshire Regiment, who maintain rapid fire from their trench, ignoring the gas swirling around them; for this they pay a price. Ninety men dead of gas poisoning in the trenches, 207 more admitted to dressing stations, of which 46 die almost immediately, and twelve more after long suffering. Out of 2,413 British gas cases admitted to hospital during this period, 277 die. After the repulse of the German attack on Hill 60, British forces are ordered to withdraw to a new line.
Private Edward Warner (Bedfordshire Regiment) is awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery near Hill 60. After Trench 46 has been vacated by our troops consequent to the gas attack, Private Warner enters it alone in order to prevent the enemy from taking possession. Re-enforcements are sent to Private Warner but cannot reach him owing to the gas. He then comes back and brings up more men, by which time he is completely exhausted but the trench is held until the enemy attack ceases. This very gallant soldier dies shortly afterwards from the effects of gas poisoning.
A small battle takes place in the North Sea in which the Trawler Columbia (Lieutenant Commander Walter Hawthorn killed) is sunk with a loss of all seventeen crew members except one. The German torpedo boats A2 and A6 are also sunk by British destroyers in the North Sea. The destroyer Recruit (Commander C A Wrightson, survives) is torpedoed by UB-6 off the Galloper light. The ship sinks causing forty-three casualties. There are twenty-six survivors.
Navigation resumes between England and Holland.
Turkish forces, 16,000 strong, attack the entire Allied line on the Gallipoli peninsula. The attacks are futile and the Turks are driven back. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Nelson Bendyshe (commanding Deal Battalion, Royal Marines) the grandnephew of Lord Horatio Nelson is killed. The Colonel, visiting a section of his trenches, is shot by his own men, who in a fit of spy mania, kill him, wound three others, and slightly bayonet Colonel McNicoll.
The 1st/5th Royal Scots come under heavy bombardment. During the night the enemy attack and the Turks break through the first line of trenches and come rushing down the gully, but then are met by the battalion with fixed bayonets. Captain D C McLagan restores the situation with a brilliant counter-attack.
The Lusitania leaves New York’s Pier 54 on its final voyage. The cargo is entered on the manifest as foodstuffs, metal rods, ingots and boxes of cartridges. Controversy concerning the true nature of the cargo will persist for many years.
Submarine E14 sinks the Turkish gunboat Nurelbahr in the Sea of Marmora.
Lieutenant James Cheetham (Royal Marines) is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as he conducts himself with gallantry during operations south of Achi Baba. When the enemy in strength of about a battalion attack an outpost of thirty men under Lieutenant Cheetham he calls for two volunteers and dashes out to a flank under very heavy fire into the open, bringing rapid fire to bear on the enemy and thus checks the attack and saves the outpost. Private C J Braddock (Royal Marines) is awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal as one of the volunteers in this action.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- Two battalion commanders
- A grand nephew of Lord Horatio Nelson
- A man accidentally shot by his own men
- The son of a Baronet
- An Otago football player
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two sons
- A family that will three sons
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ouseley Cuthbert Hume (commanding 1st Border Regiment) dies of wounds on Gallipoli at age 48.
- Captain John Cockburn Jessop Teague (Portsmouth Royal Marines) is killed at age 34. His brother will be killed in October 1915 and they are sons of Chaplain of the Collegiate Church Crediton the Reverend John Jessop Teague.
- Captain Perceval Christian Chapman (Mountain Battery Royal Artillery) dies of wounds in Alexandria received 25 April at Gallipoli at age 31. He is the son of the Reverend Theodore Charles Chapman Vicar of Langley and he has two brothers who will be killed over the next two years.
- Lieutenant Herbert George Ferguson Davie (Royal Marines) is killed at age 42. His brother will die of wounds next April and they are sons of ‘Sir’ William Augustus Ferguson Davie 3rd
- Private Ambrose Alphonsus Falconer (Otago Infantry) is killed. He is a well-know Otago football wing and forward who played versus Canterbury and Southland in 1908.
- Private Walter Silcox (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 28. His brother was lost when HMS Aboukir was sunk last September.
- Private Henry Raymond Fisher (Montreal Regiment) is killed at age 32. His brother will be killed in August 1917.